Story by Bridget Gibley, Culture Editor
Photos courtesy of Jacob Schantz
On Saturday, September 9, Wealthy Street was a little busier than usual. The street was lined with white tents, music floated through the air and the various smells from food trucks drew in passersby. The festivities could only mean one thing: the 44th Annual Eastown Streetfair.
The Eastown Community Association and the Eastown Business Association annually host this celebration of community and arts of all kind. At any given tent, customers could find handmade jewelry, buttons, t-shirts, stationery, ceramic mugs or vases. Vendors came from all over Michigan, from Grand Rapids (M and M Precious Gems) to Spring Lake (Sassy Glass).
As they strolled down Wealthy Street, people enjoyed the live music provided by acts such as Suport, who describes himself as “Eastown hip-hop;” Potato Babies, who satirically perform classic rock; and a David Bowie tribute band called Brother Wolf and the Wolfpack from Mars.
The Eastown Streetfair had something for everyone this year. Interested in going vegetarian? There was a table for VegFest Grand Rapids, an annual vegetarian food festival held on September 17. Want to get involved in activism? The ACLU had a table complete with a sign-up sheet. Feeling a need for a Michigan-shaped jewelry dish? White Feather Studio can help with that.
The weather could not have been nicer on this Saturday, a nice change after last year’s Streetfair almost got rained out. As if the vendors realized their luck, there was an air of euphoria in Eastown. Community members chatted over precious gems presented by Mike and Mary Lacy and petitions passed around by Voters Not Politicians. Despite the large crowd and the more than 150 vendors, it felt like an intimate gathering with close friends.
The Eastown Streetfair is a popular festival in Grand Rapids, and a favorite for Aquinas students. As Wealthy Street is within walking distance, many students took the chance to check out the fair. For new students, it was an introduction to the neighborhood of Eastown, and for returning students, this reporter included, it was a reminder of why we love it.